Faculty Profile: Haydee Lindo

Meet one of the new faculty members for the 2020–2021 school year, Professor Haydee Lindo! Prof. Lindo is teaching in the math department and has become involved across campus. Read our faculty profile on her below, which consists of an interview conducted in fall 2020.

Headshot of Professor Lindo

Prof. Lindo

Where did you go for undergrad and grad school? Where did you study?

For undergrad, I attended Williams College, and double majored in mathematics and political science with a focus on political theory. For graduate school, I initially went to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, then finished at University of Utah. 

What do you find interesting about political science? 

Well, I took a philosophy class in high school, and I was very interested in the intersection between philosophy and political thought. I started taking philosophy classes in college, but philosophy took off in a weird direction. I realized that my interests gravitated toward political science instead. You start experimenting at a liberal arts college. And things that stick with you and stick with them. 

How has your exposure to political science affected your goals?

I think it strengthened my communication and writing skills, and it’s increased my interest in teaching. I like how well-rounded it’s made me. While there is an opportunity cost in not taking as many math courses as I possibly could, I’m so glad that I did it. I think it makes me a better mathematician, in the particular way I’m a mathematician. 

I’m also interested in the growing interest in science communication, and it’s always a good thing to have the skills to communicate with people outside of your field. 

Furthermore, it’s a little artificial to say that math is here, and science is here, and the other things are over there. I think it’s important to appreciate how these things intersect both in life and in the classroom. 

What classes are you teaching this semester? What classes would you like to teach in the future?

This semester, I’m teaching Math 19 Calculus. In the spring, I’ll be teaching Math 55 Discrete Mathematics. I also want to teach Commutative Algebra, which is my main research interest. I also have this not-so-secret plan to offer algebra electives every year! 

What’s your favorite STEM class you’ve ever taken?

Chemistry! It was my favorite class in high school, and during my first year at Williams, I took Intro/Intermediate chemistry. I think that there is something really attractive about taking a STEM class that is so obviously related to the real world. At that time, I was still fascinated by something a little more hands on. 

What’s your favorite non-stem class you’ve ever taken?

There’s a difference between the favorite class when you’re taking it, versus the favorite class in retrospective. I have very fond memories of my art history class, but that’s just because I see the references now, and I understand more about architecture, so I use it all the time. However, I don’t think that was my favorite non-STEM class when I was in college. 

When I was at The University of Utah, I took a modern-dance class, which was awesome. The university, unbeknownst to me when I signed up, has an awesome dance department. The classes you take are supposed to be related to your work, but they somehow let me take that class!

What hobbies or interests do you have outside of your work as a professor? 

In COVID times, none. More broadly, I’m interested in DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) work, and I previously wrote for the National Association of Mathematics Values blog. I think of it as related to my work as a mathematician and professor.  

I don’t want to overstate anything, but it’s apparent that I’m a black woman. I’ve realized in retrospect the narrow path that I’ve had to walk in order to be where I am right now. I realize how easy it would have been to be on a different path if I hadn’t had certain mentors and people looking out for me, things like that. The further out I get, the older I get, the more I appreciate that. It feels paramount to me to make sure that pathway isn’t such a narrow path. That’s been an organizing principle for what I think of as my professional duties.

Some of the ways in which I think about that are through helping out and aligning myself with associations like NAM, which specifically gears itself towards underrepresented groups (started out for black mathematicians in the U.S., but has now broadened out ).

I’m trying really, really hard to more consciously design my courses to extend my mentorship and look out for students who look like me or don’t. Hopefully, I’ll find more and more ways to do that, and become more and more effective at that.

What’s your favorite fictional character? 

Buffy the vampire slayer? 

Dark – German sci-fi. Main character is Jonas. He goes with the flow, and is buffeted around all the time and ends up in ridiculous situations. Not always good situations.

Mikasa from Attack on Titan